In-Home Healthcare Neglect – A 93-year-old woman was supposed to receive skilled in-home care to provide assistance with her needs of daily life while still allowing her to remain in the comfort of her own home. On just the fourth day of receiving these contracted services, the company wrongfully sent an untrained employee to assist the woman. During one particularly unskilled transfer, the employee left the woman standing unattended, despite knowing that she was unstable and a high fall risk. Consequently, the woman fell, and broke her hip. She was then forced to undergo surgery, and had to live in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) to aid in her rehabilitation. In litigating this case, the firm was able to show that the defendant company’s failures amounted to a violation of California’s Elder Abuse Act, rather than mere negligence. The company agreed to pay a settlement of $365,000.00 early in litigation process.
Elder Abuse/Neglect – A 74-year-old resident of an Oxnard, California residential care facility for the elderly choked on her own vomit and died after staff at the facility intentionally tied her emergency call cord out of her reach. The cord was tied up after staff became annoyed at the woman’s repeated calls for help because of persistent vomiting. Later in the evening, the woman became sick again but was unable to call for help because she could not reach the call button. When she attempted to get out of bed to seek help, she fell to the floor and proceeded to choke on her own vomit. She was found on the floor over four hours later by oncoming staff. The firm was able to settle this hard-fought case on the eve of trial – without provisions of confidentiality – for $2,200,000.00. The settlement was later lauded by the press as the largest settlement ever reported in the State of California against a residential care facility.
Developmentally Disabled Adult Abuse / Wrongful Death Case – A 31-year-old developmentally disabled adult male, who had endured several months of physical abuse while residing at Lanterman Developmental Center, died after receiving a serious, likely intentional, blow to the abdomen. Prior to the man’s death, repeated claims of abused had been made to the facility’s administrator and director, but they nonetheless failed to take preventative measures to protect the resident from the continued abuse, leaving him vulnerable to attack. While it was still unclear whether the terminal blow was dealt by a fellow resident or one of the facility’s employees, the firm’s San Diego nursing home negligence attorneys obtained a $950,000.00 settlement on behalf of the victim’s surviving family.
Elder Neglect/Abuse/Wrongful Deaths – The families of two patients who were admitted into a Southern California based Long Term Acute Care Facility (LTAC) and died shortly after their admissions due to a lack of receiving appropriate care joined forces to simultaneously file suit against the hospital facility, physicians and control persons responsible for their loved ones’ medical care. In one instance, the patient went into cardiac arrest in the early morning hours and the facility, which failed to have anyone on duty who was trained to administer CPR or Advanced Life Support, amazingly had to call 911 to summons an ambulance to run a “code.” Unfortunately, the ambulance took 20 minutes to arrive after the patient went into cardiac arrest, and the patient died. In the second instance, the patient suffered a severe internal infection when an indwelling catheter that was required to be changed every 48 hours went unchanged and unmonitored for over 10 full days. During this time, the patient became septic, and died as a result. Unbeknownst to the families, the facility had been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the California Department of Health Services (DHS) for several reasons, including issues of understaffing and failure to provide competent care. Soon after these incidents, the facility was permanently shut down. Following almost two years of extensive litigation against the facility, physicians and control persons responsible for the patients’ medical care, Berman & Riedel, LLP, was able to obtain settlement on behalf of decedents’ surviving family members for a sum total of $1,125,000.00.
Elder Neglect/Wrongful Death – An 85-year-old woman passed away due to complications following an attempted below the knee amputation surgery that was necessitated because she had developed severe bilateral heel wounds (pressure ulcers/bed sores) while admitted as a patient in a Southern California based skilled nursing facility where she had been sent to receive short term rehabilitation therapies following hip surgery. Due to an alleged lack of care on the part of her medical care providers as well as inaction by her health management organization, she had developed bilateral heel wounds which progressed to become extreme necrotic Stage IV wounds, the left heel becoming severely infected. After becoming septic, a below the knee amputation of her left leg was performed in attempt to save her life. Unfortunately, she suffered complications and died. Following almost two years of extensive litigation against defendants responsible for the patient’s medical care, Berman & Riedel, LLP, was able to obtain collective settlement on behalf of decedent’s surviving family for just over $1,700,000.00.
Elder Neglect & Wrongful Death – Skilled Nursing Facility – An 88-year-old long term custodial resident of a San Diego based Skilled Nursing Facility (“SNF”) suffered serious internal bleeding over a period of 26 days when nursing staff failed to monitor her medication levels as had been specifically ordered by her physician. Despite the fact that the patient showed obvious signs of decline over the entire 26 day period, the facility failed to contact her physician and report her change in condition. The patient continued to decline, and, eventually, the patient suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and died. The facility received a Class “A” Citation. After well over a year of extensive litigation against the Skilled Nursing Facility and its Management Company, Berman & Riedel, LLP, was able to settle the case at mediation for $1,5000,000.00. The attending physician involved paid additional monies in confidential settlement for her direct failure to recognize that the medication orders were improperly noted and that SNF nursing staff were not monitoring the patient’s medication levels. Settlement of the claim was enhanced due to the serious potential for award of punitive damages.
Elder Abuse/Neglect – Three months after being placed into a board and care facility, a 92-year-old man was rushed to a hospital where he was noted as suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and severe muscle wasting. He also was noted as having live insect activity in his eyes and mouth. He died less than a week later. Angered by the lack of care provided, his family retained the firm to file legal action against the facility and the placement agency for their failures to oversee the proper care of their loved one. Early during litigation, settlement was reached with the defendant facility for over $1,000,000.00.
Elder Neglect/Wrongful Death – An 88-year-old woman was transferred to a San Marcos, California, Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) to recuperate after successful surgery to repair a fractured hip. Upon her admittance, it was noted that she “possessed good restorative potential” and that she was specifically being admitted for short-term rehabilitative therapy so she could regain her strength and return home to live with her husband. As requested by her admitting physician, the facility’s nurses were required to continuously monitor a hematoma on the patient’s right groin area for signs of infection. However, the SNF never developed a specific plan on how its staff should monitor the patient’s hematoma, failed to monitor the presence or absence of a femoral or pedal pulse, failed to assess the color and temperature of her right leg, and failed to monitor the presence of edema. Less than three weeks after entering the SNF, the patient developed a complete loss of circulatory function in the affected leg, which went unobserved for several days, and died shortly following emergency surgery.After six months of extensive litigation against the Skilled Nursing Facility, Berman & Riedel, LLP, was able to settle the case at mediation for $700,000.00.
Elder Neglect/Wrongful Death – An 80-year-old woman was admitted as a patient to a Riverside County operated Skilled Nursing Facility to receive short-term rehabilitative therapy. Upon her admission, facility administrators and nursing staff were made aware that the patient was on Coumadin, a blood thinning medication that is used to prevent the formation of blood clots. In its use, it is important to note that a known side effect of the anti-clotting medication is that it prevents internal traumatic injuries from healing. Despite such knowledge, and while undergoing physical therapy at defendant’s SNF, the patient fell while in the hands of the therapist and banged her head hard. The physical therapist reported the incident to nursing staff, but the nursing staff failed to report the incident to the patient’s primary care physician or hold-off the anti-clotting medication. The next morning, approximately 18 hours after the incident, the patient was found unresponsive in her bed. In being transferred to the hospital, it was learned that the patient had suffered a massive internal brain bleed, which went uncontrolled due in part to continued administration of the anti-clotting medication. The patient died. Through formal claim process with the County but very early during litigation, Berman & Riedel, LLP, was able to obtain settlement for the decedent’s surviving children in the amount of $750,000.00. Despite a “AA” Citation having been issued against the facility, the settlement was limited as the County was immune from punitive damage exposure.
Elder Abuse/Wrongful Death – An 84-year-old patient of a San Diego County skilled nursing facility died after suffering severe neglect. Upon his admission to defendant’s skilled nursing facility and at numerous times thereafter, decedent’s needs for skilled nursing care were made known to defendant’s administration and staff. These needs included specific orders regarding injection medication that decedent was required to receive. Shortly following his admission, the patient was noted as having multiple large dark purple bruises over the entire left side of his body. This was being caused by an improper injection of his medications. Despite recognizing the condition, facility administration and staff failed to notify decedent’s physician or family of the condition and exacerbated the injuries by continuing to improperly inject decedent’s medications. As a result, decedent suffered prolonged internal bleeding and ultimately died. Despite the fact that the facility strongly contested the allegations of abuse and neglect and the fact that decedent died as a result of the internal bleeding, the firm was able to obtain a $350,000.00 cash settlement from the facility.
Elder Abuse/Neglect – A 94-year-old man fell while residing in a residential care facility. He sustained a severely broken hip and shoulder, and died before doctors could operate. Through its investigation, the firm was able to demonstrate that the man fell late at night as a result of over-medication by staff at the residential care facility who wished to keep him quiet, and thus “trouble-free.” In the face of this harmful evidence, early during litigation the insurance provider for the facility agreed to settlement with the surviving family members in the amount of $700,000.00.
Elder Neglect/Wrongful Death – A 78-year-old woman was admitted as a patient to a Southern California based Skilled Nursing Facility for short-term rehabilitative therapy, with a good prognosis to return home to live independently. Upon her admission, facility administrators and nursing staff were made aware that the patient required close management of her nutrition, monitoring of her blood sugar levels, administration of her diabetes medications, and monitoring for prevention of skin breakdown. Nevertheless, while under the direct care of defendant’s staff, and in a period of less than six weeks, the patient became extremely dehydrated, malnourished, and was deprived of her pain medications as well as of her necessary insulin, all which resulted in the development of skin breakdown and painful decubitus ulcers (bed sores), a severe urinary tract infection, and she ultimately a fatal heart attack. Through mediation conducted early during the litigation, Berman & Riedel, LLP, was able to obtain settlement for the decedent’s surviving children in the amount of $600,000.00.
Disclaimer: Case results as reported above were derived based upon facts and circumstances specific to each separately reported case and publication of such case results is for informational purposes only and by no means is intended to constitute any representation or guarantee of a similar result for your prospective case.